The more miles I have logged in working with children and their parents the less definitive I find myself.
There are few absolutes when dealing with kids and the complexity of variables that are affecting them. Variables such as the child’s temperament/personality, the parent’s style, the family’s way of dealing with each other, among a myriad of other factors come into play.
With that said, in no particular order, here are a few parental resolutions for the coming year:
1) Try and find alternatives to yelling. Yelling doesn’t work even though it seems to be the favored tool of modern parenting.
2) Along with point #1, when addressing challenging situations with children, try and practice speaking in more matter-of-fact (objective) tones – “Gee, I’m sorry that you chose not to do your homework. I will explain that to the teacher in this note that I am writing. You deal with it.” (Presuming the homework was appropriate to the child’s level of ability.)
3) Create electronic free time zones in the house. Establish a reading hour where everyone holds an actual book in their hands. Have cell phones turned in and put in a basket off to the side. This includes the adults.
4) Resolve not to go on the school’s grading website (whatever yours is called) daily. In fact, resolve to only go on it once a week at the most. This may extremely hard for many parents (moms) to do, as many will go on the school’s website multiple times per day. You have to go cold turkey.
5) Avoid Gumby parenting. No other explanation is needed about this.
6) Practice being 10% involved with homework and school work. More than that you may be in too deep.
7) Watch overusing Time Out. Overuse of Time Out leads to it becoming ineffective. Plus, getting put in one’s room may be a great place to escape – from parents!
8) Resolve not to over-email the teacher. Limit your emails to perhaps once every other week. Try and keep the emails simple – not much more than a paragraph at a time.
9) Keep reminding yourself that with most child issues, “This too shall pass.”
10) Keep telling yourself that they (the children) are works in progress unfolding on their own timetable.